For the first time in six months, forward-deployed amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) conducted a replenishment at sea (RAS) in the East China Sea March 7.
The ship received 600,000 gallons of diesel fuel marine and aviation fuel from Military Sealift Command fleet replenishment oiler USNS Rappahannock (T-AO 204) and more than 250 pallets of supplies and equipment from dry cargo ship USNS Washington Chambers (T-AKE 11).
“It’s a great day to receive stores at sea, even though we got a little behind schedule,” said Cmdr. Terrel Fisher, Bonhomme Richard’s supply officer. “It’s great to see the team come together to make things happen.”
Conducting a RAS allows U.S. Navy ships to continue their mission indefinitely without pulling into port.
“The sea state was very high compared to all the other RASs we’ve done at this command,” said Lt. Matthew Brophy, a bridge watchstander during the evolution. “It was good driving by the entire bridge team…keeping the ship safe, especially doing it with one ship and then going alongside another ship to finish the underway replenishment.”
Bonhomme Richard took on fuel via connected replenishment (CONREP) and stores via vertical replenishment (VERTREP). During CONREP, fuel was transferred via hoses strung along cables strung between two ships’ replenishment-at-sea stations. During VERTREP, helicopters were used to picks up supplies from one ship and deliver them to the other.
Lt. Colin Chance, Bonhomme Richard’s safety officer, pointed out that while safety is important to any evolution, it was especially important given today’s high winds and seas combined with the fact it has been six months since Bonhomme Richard’s crew last conducted a RAS.
“I think it’s a testament to the professionalism of the crew we were able to get the job done,” said
The Bonhomme Richard Amphibious Ready Group is conducting joint-force operations in the 7th Fleet Area of Responsibility.
Press Release, March 12, 2014, 2014; Image: US Navy